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How To . . .

The phrase that's launched a million ads still reels prospects in.

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This story appears in the September 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The next time you find yourself gnawing on the corner of your pillow at night in frustration over not being able to fashion a compelling advertising headline, try this: Grab a pen and simply put together a headline that starts out "How to . . . ". How-to headlines are almost always provocative because they typically offer the promise of immediate instruction in an area of keen interest.

Imagine if, during a moment of intense frustration over such an advertising task, you came across an ad that started out "How to Create a Grabby Headline." Would it get your attention? I've been in the headline cobbling business for eons, and I can tell you it would still cause my eyeballs to distend. No matter what your business, I guarantee you there's a headline leading off with "How to . . . " that has the pulling power you've been searching for.

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